You have no idea how much a person can like a fruit. You may like bananas so much you eat one every morning, but how about owning 17,000 of banana related items and make a museum out of it? Located southeast of Palm Springs in Mecca, CA, International Banana Museum is recognized by the Guinness Book of World Record for having the largest collection dedicated to a single fruit.
The museum was started back in 1976 by a man name Ken Bannister, who called himself the “Top Banana Man”. He also started the banana club, wrote books about banana, been on talk shows to talk about his banana obsession, and featured in numerous newspaper and local radio stations. I think he definitely deserves the title of the top banana man. He just recently sold his collection to a man name Fred, who currently owns and operates the museum.
The museum has everything from stuffed-bananas, banana key chains, banana toys, banana photo album, banana chair, banana car, banana jacket, banana shirt, banana everything else you can ever possibly imagine.
Open: I think that they open seasonally during the winter. Summer is too hot and there are usually nobody going down in that area.
Cost: Usually $2 per adult and $1 per kid, but when we visited, because we were a large group, he only charged us a $1 each
If you like bananas, you have to go here! My friends and I did not mean to stop here. We were on our way to Salvation Mountain, and this was conveniently on the way. We were just driving by, and we saw a person in a banana suit dancing and waving at us. Obviously, we needed to stop for that! I braked and made a u-turn immediately and pulled into the museum.
The owner, Fred, came out and greeted us. He was really nice, and welcome us into the museum. You can tell that he was super happy that we stopped by. He gave us discount to only $1 per person from $2 because there were a lot of us. The stop was more than worth it. The museum was really interesting. Honestly, it was one of those what the hell places that you just never thought could ever existed but does.
The place is small; it is simply a room, but it contains thousands and thousands of banana items. It was really amazing to just walk around and look at all the stuff. My friends and I had a great time and we were just trying on the jacket, putting on hats, and taking pictures with all the banana things.
I highly highly recommend that you try the banana shakes. It was pretty dang good, and seriously, when else are you going to try banana shakes from the world’s largest banana museum. They also have banana soda, and you can make banana soda float with a scoop of ice cream. There’s also a restroom here, which makes it a great stop before Salvation Mountain because there’s no restroom there. I think that this place is a great stop on your way to either the Salvation Mountain or Salton Sea. A visit shouldn’t take more than 20-30 minutes which can be easily included into your itinerary.
Directions & Contact
The museum is located on the HWY 111 south of Palm Springs. I can’t find the exact address, so here’s my best explanation of the direction. If you’re coming down from LA, OC, or Palm Springs. From HWY 86S, head south onto HWY 111 south and this place is located right off the highway on your right side (if heading down), and it should have a huge sign that says “International Banana Museum” and occasionally a dancing banana man. If you’re heading to Salton Sea, then this will definitely be on your way. It is a few miles before the Salton Sea Visitor Center, about 25 miles north of Bombay Beach, and 30 minutes north of Salvation Mountain and Niland.
Have a great visit. If you have any questions, just comment and I will certainly reply.